Every Anurag Kashyap Film Ranked
Anurag Kashyap has not only brought the necessary change in Hindi cinema but also gave it a new identity that we could be proud of. He was instrumental in creating a new wave in Indian cinema along with others like Ram Gopal Verma, Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibaker Banerjee and Tigmanshu Dhulia. Anurag is perhaps the only modern-day director in India who makes realistic films with high entertainment value. The films of Anurag Kashyap are known for its Tarantino-Esque violence and humor. It is the ability to make people laugh during the bloodiest of scenes is something Kashyap has mastered over the years. As Anurag Kashyap turns a year older and wiser, we have ranked his films from the least likeable to his best:
13. Return of Hanuman 
As Kashyap sat down to roll a blunt with the best possible hash available, someone told him to make a film for kids. Lazing around he goes through children’s channels as he sees the newest sensation, i.e The Hanuman. He takes a piece of paper laying around, looks around for a pen before borrowing one and writes down his own playful version of the so called desi-superhuman.
His characters are cheekier than Kanti Shah’s Gunda, where Hanuman can easily manipulate ‘Prabhu’, a chimp who is deliberately made to sound like Shah Rukh and some more unearthly characters who refer to gods and their sleeping habits. Return Of Hanuman is a totally bonkers film and to be completely honest, it’s a mess. But why not smoke some doobies and have fun?
12. Bombay Velvet 
Bombay Velvet is a wreck, but it is a wreck of Titanic. Even the worst movie of Anurag Kashyap is alluring to an extent. In his ambition of creating Scrupulous Jazzy Bombay, AK has overlooked the most important aspect of movie- story. While his command over camera is splendid, his mastery over storytelling is severely jolted here.
Set in sixties era, Bombay Velvet is a noirish gangster drama. Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor), a street scamp dreams of becoming BIG SHOT while watching The Roaring Twenties. His infatuation for Rosie (Anushka Sharma) stirs a war between two powerful political ideologies. Khambatta (Karan Johar), a crooked man with power builds an establishment called “Bombay Velvet”, where funky jazz plays on stage only to conceal screams at back door. The growing ambition of Johnny turns him against his own patron Khambatta.
With Bombay Velvet, Anurag Kashyap has proved that sometimes standing in arena is all that matters, applause and aspersions are secondary.
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11. That Girl in Yellow Boots 
Sometimes the darkest secrets hide in plain sight. Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl In Yellow Boots was the story of Ruth, a girl searching for her long-lost father. Where the boots were a metaphor to struggle and survival, the yellow refers to the shadiness her job (a shadier massage parlor) has brought upon her life. She gives ‘handshakes’ as she finds it hard to get a work permit along the endless lines of paperwork she has to file. “I love India,” she says so that her struggles along those visa offices comes to an end, only, it doesn’t.
The conclusion of Ruth’s tale will leave you speechless. It made me respect Anurag Kashyap and Kalki (who also co-wrote the film) for having balls made of steel. Only people like them can have the audacity to go through a film that wouldn’t be appreciated by everyone. The climax of That Girl In Yellow Boots reminds you of the Korean thriller ‘Oldboy’ in a strange way, and comparing this film to Oldboy is saying a lot.
But when you see the film again, you’ll realize that the conclusion was not what Anurag Kashyap was aiming for. It was all about the character of Ruth, also about her solo stride through all the filth that sticks to something that’s not similar to everything else. Kashyap has portrayed a woman who is sadder than she looks and acts older than she is supposed to. It’s an achievement.
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10. Manmarziyaan 
Manmarziyaan is a technically brilliant film. From its opening shots to the very end, it gorgeously captures every setting. Tracking and close-up shots are employed to great measure, especially in intimate moments. The music is phenomenal. There’s no song and dance routine. Instead, it truly blends into the background and becomes a part of the narrative propelling it forward.
Manmarziyaan is a showcase of talent both in front of and behind the camera. Well-acted and technically polished, it could have been among the finest films of the year. Unfortunately, the film is let down by its narrative. It loses its grip on you in the second half and never recovers as it plods along to its climax. There are so many individual components to appreciate in this film. Sadly, Anurag Kashyap fails to unite them in an enticing package that’d make a mark.
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9. Paanch 
Paanch is a commentary on childish nature of evil, which also serves as a cautionary tale. As the title suggests, Paanch is story of five slackers, whose only business is too fool around and get wasted. Every act of iniquity starts with a tiny step, then second step and so on, until involved people realize that they are neck deep into the deadening mire of evil, but they keep at it, firstly out of pleasure, then out of compulsion. Those who set a foot on this vicious mire are bound to sink in the deepest trench of hell, there is no escaping.
Luke (Kay Kay Menon) is an agent of Evil. His unpredictable and menacing nature has every band member frightened, but they need money to get by and to record the album. A rich brat voluntarily proposes to be kidnapped by them, to extract money from his miser father. And then, as Murphy’s Law suggests, whatever can go wrong, goes wrong.
Beginning of Paanch is reminiscent of Fight club. It has enough pop culture references to intrigue any movie buff. Though, it suffers from unnecessarily stretched songs, Paanch is a grotesque thriller. Sadly, it didn’t see theatrical release in India.
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8. Mukkabaaz 
Mukkabaaz on its surface is a love story of an amateur boxer, Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh) Singh from Bareilly. His passion for boxing is eternal. In one of the scenes, Shravan’s father ridicules him by displaying how useless the winning cup is. Shravan retaliates savagely that boxing is his passion and he doesn’t know anything else to do in life. The whole passion crescendo of Sharavan reflects Anurag’s constant struggle to survive and tell the stories he wants to present in his intransigent voice, in this commercially driven Bollywood ‘industry’. And that could be one of the reasons the headstrong passion of Shravan is so tangible that it breaks your heart to see him getting punched, literally and metaphorically.
Mukkabaaz is dense, insightful though some scenes are theatrical and thoroughly cinematic. Anurag Kashyap lands a satisfying punch against the injustices and hypocrisies that keep India’s sporting underdogs exactly where they are. While he punches the last crude knock by ending the film saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. A tight slap in the face of over enthusiast patriots? Or just a heartfelt gratitude to the native for giving such content worthy landscape? Or perhaps both.
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7. No Smoking 
No smoking is Hindi Cinema’s own mind-fuck, an undaunted experimental movie straight out of Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Prayogshala’. A movie, which was supposed to be all about smoking gets more perplex and bizarre as it progresses, and the climax is bound to leave viewer’s mind numb. It also has some surrealistic elements, rarely found in Indian cinema.
The protagonist of movie, oddly known as ‘K’ (John Abraham) is a chain smoker and a narcissist. Tired of his smoking habits, his wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) abandons him, leaving no option for K but to visit Prayogshala, a strange rehabilitation centre run by an idiosyncratic Baba Bengali (Paresh Rawal). Baba Bengali is assertive, and is prepared to take any measure to help K getting rid of smoking habit, even if it means killing him. K is forced to sign a contract and has a stamp attached on his forehead to trace him. K has to suffer dire consequences because of his noncompliance.
No smoking is also a commentary on men who are slaves on their own desires. Despite its inconsistencies, No Smoking is highly original film and has rightfully gained cult status with time.
6. Raman Raghav 2.0 
There’s a strange smile that appears on your face as you watch Ramanna dismantling his victims in Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0. Its not because Kashyap somehow magically manages to justify the mystifying murders in his film, nor because he tries to ground you into rooting for his killing machine, but because the film jabs at that side of a human brain which has violence and anarchy all over its surface. He kicks a dark, blunt hole in your head, one that shakes you to the moment of spine chilling, psychotic disorder. Here’s a film that never steps back on its delivery of evil. It piles a dozen of grim shenanigans in front of your eyes and just keeps increasing the weight until you gasp or possibly choke yourself to death.
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Starting off in true Tarantino fashion, Raman Raghav 2.0 works in chapters. It doesn’t overuse the gimmick of going back and forth in time, in order to trap you into an unnecessary mystery. The narrative of Kashyap’s film takes up a basic ‘serial-killer’ story arc and builds a solid, darkly delicious tale of insanity, anger & self-discovery. It’s a disturbing character study of two people, one on the verge of complete & total chaos of his psyche and one on the playful aftermath; where no relations, no emotions, no religion and no tragedy matters. Where gaining a Godly figure in its harshest sense is the ultimate and final aim.
Anurag Kahshyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 is dark, delirious and stylistically delicious. It doesn’t leave any stone unturned and is a true Kashyap film in all measures. Cheers to getting fucked inside out!